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Why do Race Officers do it?

by Irish Sailing Team 25 Jul 2020 03:12 PDT
Topaz racing and cruiser racing in Kinsale Harbour © John Allen

Congratulations to Hal Andrews, Margot Cronin and Eamon Timoney in their new roles as recognised Local Race Officers.

So, who becomes a Local Race Officer and why? We decided to ask the new recruits for a little background on their sailing and why they decided to join the ranks of Race Officials.

Hal Andrews is a member of Glandore Harbour Yacht Club and sailed since he was a child in Optimist, Sandpiper and Prout Shearwater, then moved onto a Squib and enjoys cruising as an adult. Hal joined a racing yacht in the Solent where he raced for many years, in then joined a couple of Cork Weeks and had a small racing yacht on the Thames at Greenwich Yacht Club. He was the tactician, so became involved in a few protests, which were always interesting!

While in Greenwich Hal was in charge of racing and became 'the Sailwave expert'. Then went on to get VHF, Power Boat and Safety boat training and did a club Race Officer course.

Once in Glandore Hal fulfilled a few Race Officer duties and in 2019 he joined a Club Race Officer course. The Lockdown Race Officer Quiz kept interest and knowledge up during this spring and he decided it was time to become recognized as a Local Race Officer. Irish Sailing happily accepted his application.

Why do you do it Hal? I do it because volunteer clubs need race officers, not to mention people who know the rules, so I join in to do my bit really!

Margot Cronin is a member of Galway Bay Sailing Club and started dinghy sailing as a kid in Monkstown Bay Sailing Club, Cork Harbour, many years ago! She first crewed in Mirrors, then sailed Vagabonds for years and crewed in anything else when the opportunity arose. Margot is currently crewing in RS200 with Johnny Barry out of Galway Bay Sailing Club, as well as on the occasional longer cruiser voyage.

She joined the club league Race Officer roster a few times a year, plus the occasional club regatta and assisted on a few Provincial and National Events as well.

Why do you do it Margot? While helping to organise a few events at GBSC recently, I realised we rely on a very small group to run the races so I felt it was time to get the qualification to share the workload. When the online course came up, it was a chance to get the training done with minimum fuss. Hoping it will improve my racing and race organisation skills. It also provides an opportunity to get out on the water for events outside my class. Who knows, maybe I'll continue the family tradition - my mother was RO in MBSC into her 80s!

Eamon Timoney spent his summers on the Shannon as a teenager, but didn't take up sailing until his mid thirties when his own children were taking up sailing. Dermot Kennedy in Baltimore taught him the basics and his first sailing boat was a 16' Petrel (from Dungarvan), then went on to purchase his my first Dragon, Pancho in the 90's. Eamon feels he is still learning the ins and outs of them 25 years later.

Eamon has enjoyed the experience of a few St.Maarten Regatta's in the Caribbean with good friend John Wyles and his friends from New York and the Newport Bermuda Race in 2008.

Why do you do it Eamonn? I did the Local Race Officer course last year, primarily to boost the number of qualified race officers in the club and to be able to give some guidance to younger sailors who need race officer experience.

If you are interested in becoming a Local Race Officer you follow these steps:

1. Attend a Local Race Officer 1 day course
2. Have your National Powerboat cert and VHF license
3. Assist in your local club events
4. Apply to Irish Sailing for recognition as a Local Race Officer

Why would you? Well as you can see from Eamon, Margo and Hal, the role has many rewards, from being part of the team, the joy of helping and even helps to improve your own racing skills.

For more information visit www.sailing.ie/Racing/Race-Officials.

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